In 1990 Sol LeWitt designed and had built a six-hundred square foot studio on his property in Chester, Connecticut. He created work in this light-filled space nearly every day until his death in 2007. Dr Irene Barberis, Australian/British artist and scholar, first met LeWitt in New York in 1974 at the Museum of Modern Art. He became her mentor and they remained friends for the rest of his life. In 2019 Barberis arrived in Chester to explore more deeply LeWitt’s practice and processes, and the way they intersect her own, performing a close examination of the studio space, his tools, materials and palimpsest of marks therein. Barberis did not realize that during her Chester residency she would be constructing the very first publication to fully document the primary studio of LeWitt’s late career.
Seventeen years after LeWitt’s death, the perimeter of the studio, the shelves, materials, paraphernalia, and documents lay almost untouched. Except for family and curatorial staff, no one had spent time in the space, and Barberis was the first artist apart from LeWitt’s daughter Eva, to make art there since it was occupied by LeWitt himself. Over the three-month period Barberis lived and worked in the LeWitt home and studio taking thousands of photographs, capturing every item in the studio with an artist’s eye, arranging vignettes, making patterns and series. As prolific an artist as LeWitt, Barberis also created over eight hundred works, utilizing her own long-established vocabularies in ways that both overlap and diverge from LeWitt’s.
Designed in homage to LeWitt’s own gridded photography books, this book presents over fifteen hundred images shot by Barberis as part of her ongoing research for the LeWitt Project. Part One contains intimate images of LeWitt’s studio objects and surfaces, examined in detail, each image being part of a greater whole. Part Two is a window into Barberis’ working process and investigative artist responses to both the studio and the influences of LeWitt’s mentorship on her practice, including observational notations.
This is a beautiful publication documenting Sol’s studio, and it is a valuable addition to the scholarship of his practice… Carol LeWitt
In addition to the visual documentation, renowned art critic Lucy R. Lippard has contributed a foreword to the book. There are also two essays by Janet Passehl, artist, poet, long-time assistant of LeWitt and the Curator of the LeWitt Collection and archive.
A limited first-edition print run is now available.
Dr Irene Barberis will be living and working at the Chester Studio until early November 2022 and is available for interviews.
For further information, or to arrange an interview.